Mileaters On Tour 2018 - Wye Valley and Forest of Dean
It’s just such an amazing and joyous thing that 28 people (and a few dogs) from the same village go on holiday together and have such a wonderful time. I wonder how many other villages can say that. We’re so lucky.
Anyway, the Mileaters were on tour again in September, staying in a lovely hotel just outside Ross-on-Wye and enjoying stimulating walks in the beautiful Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean. We arrived on Tuesday lunchtime and once unpacked, we embarked on our first walk, setting out from our hotel, which was situated within National Trust parkland. The setting was beautiful and our 5 mile walk took us through undulating countryside down to the banks of the Wye. We walked along the riverbank for a mile or so taking in the views and watching the abundant birdlife.
The next day took us down to Tintern Abbey, which is actually in Wales. The abbey is a majestic ruin, positioned on the banks of the Wye, set in a valley and surrounded by densely wooded and steep-sided forests. Our 6 mile walk took us into the forest, initially following the line of an old railway track. It is interesting to reflect that pre-Beeching, the railway system reached into such remote spots. We eventually reached a fantastic viewing point, “The Devil’s Pulpit”, which afforded spectacular views over the abbey and Tintern village.
Our third day started ominously with very heavy rain in the morning, which made our planned walk seem highly unlikely. A number of us took off to nearby Hereford, particularly to look at the beautiful Cathedral with it’s prized exhibit, the medieval “Mappa Mundi”. Others found their way to local shops. Amazingly the rain cleared in the afternoon to allow us to tackle our planned walk from the spectacular Symonds Yat. We started at the top of Symonds Yat Rock, which despite the gloom afforded magnificent views down over the Wye Valley. Our 5 1/2 mile walk took us once again into a thickly wooded hillside and descending to the river where we walked along the riverbank back to Symonds Yat. Before that we made a short diversion to a wobbly pedestrian suspension bridge where the more intrepid amongst us ventured across. We ended up at the local pub where we partook of welcome refreshment, before some of us made the very steep 1/2 mile ascent back to the car park. These brave few then drove cars back down the road to the pub to pick up the “lucky” others.
All of the above was punctuated with great meals at the hotel, where there was plenty of mirth and loud conversation. Some of us even made it into the outdoor pool and the Sauna and Jacuzzi. Great fun! The final evening after dinner we were entertained by our excellent Ukulele duet of Celia and Frances. This soon degenerated into a raucous sing-song. A great end to our lovely holiday.
We had such a wonderful time although we felt a little sorry for the very small number of other residents to have to put up with the noisy Martinstown lot!
We’re looking forward to our next holiday in April 2019 in the glorious South Downs.